How can we foster independent curatorial activity? How do we share our knowledge and experience as well as internationalize our practice? What are the institutions our society needs today?

This year Swimming Pool invites curators, non-curators, students, artists, writers, and anyone interested in curatorship to apply to a six-months long experimental curatorial program in Sofia with focus on generating knowledge about the needs, urgencies and potentials of an art scene located at the global periphery.

Since couple of years the art scene in Sofia is driven by intense production, however, how can we deepen our practice, how can we make it more complex,  how can we communicate it rightly? We believe that Sofia needs more independent initiatives based on collaboration, need to generate knowledge, research, internationality and social engagement. We also need initiatives that pose basic questions about needs and potentials.

Our main interest lies on the potentials of independent curatorial activity towards creating spaces. However, physicality is not a pre-condition; when talking of “spaces” we envision mid-and long term initiatives creating their own physical, imaginary and political conditions. We will explore agency of project spaces, and how such initiatives can move society. We will also reflect on their irregularity (which consists in a low level of institutionalization, shared economy, as well as DIY culture) and how this allows for new types of institutionalization that correspond to how our environment is structured today. We will also pay attention to resonance and how to create spaces for joint thinking and imagining.

While observing the lack of curatorial education and post-education within this experimental program we want to discuss possibilities as well as share know-how on structuring, financing and communicating such projects. Our aim is to strengthen mid-/ long-term independent initiatives, like Swimming Pool, as we believe there this could be the vehicle of an healthy art economy. The school offers informal discussions and workshops within a small group of participants  that aim to prepare an international symposium to take place in November. Also, every participant will  have the opportunity to initiate and organize own project, which will become part of the final presentation of the program’s research frame. A catalogue will document all discussions and projects within the frame of the program in order to make our research available to local and international audiences.

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